Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 10, 2015

Volcanic District on Venus
Volcanic District on Venus

Credits: NASA/JPL - Magellan Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

This NASA - Magellan Spacecraft's Radio-Image - which is centered at about 3,2° North Latitude and 194,9° East Longitude - shows us a Volcanic District located in the Eastern Part of the Ovda Region of Venus. In this frame, which is approx. 90 Km (such as about 55,89 miles) in width and approx. 80 Km (such as about 49,68 miles) in length, we can see some (relatively) small Volcanic Domes which are all positioned on the Western Flank of the Giant Venusian Volcano known as Maat Mons.

The bright Flows to the East are, most likely, Rough Lava Flows, while the darker ones, visible to the West, are probably Smoother Lava Flows. As a matter of fact, even the Dark Lava Flows do show some roughness, as it can be better noticed by the structure in the Lava Flows found to the South/West. These Dark Lava Flows also show some kind of Debris that have been deposited on top of them. What are they? Well, it is possible that the Debris may be Fine (---> thin, even similar to simple powder) Material which was brought by Aeolian Actions (---> Winds) from the surrounding Plains until it rested on top of the Flows. Another possibility, however, is that this Fine Material is actually made of huge quantities of Ashes coming from the Maat Mons.

As far as the Volcanic Domes are concerned, we can say that they are very common Features of the Surface of Venus, and their presence proves that there has been a lot of Volcanic Activity on the Planet (Volcanic Activity which, maybe - and in our humble opinion, as IPF -, could still be going on, even now, somewhere on Venus).

Just out of curiosity, we can say that, assuming that the Central Volcanic Cone is basically symmetrical in shape, and knowing the length of the Cone's Side as well as the Solar Incidence Angle, we can conclude that this Volcano has a Height and Slope of approx. 688 meters, and 8,2° respectively. Furthermore, these values are very similar to the Heights and Slopes of several Volcanic Cones located on our Home Planet Earth.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Radio-Image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 00487), since it is just a Radio-Image of the Venusian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Magellan Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Venusian Clouds and Fogs is completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Venus itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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